A weekly look through the archives at how the century progressed February 26, 1918: 'Terrible calamity at Race Course'. 'Matsheds Collapse'. 'Hundreds of People Buried Alive'. 'Fire Raging Now'. These were the headlines which announced the world's worst racetrack disaster, even to date. 'The whole of the matsheds which were occupied by thousands of Chinese collapsed like a pack of cards and thousands of people were buried alive,' wrote a breathless reporter. 'To make matters very much worse, fire was seen to start, this apparently being due to the fact that stoves which were used to cook food overturned and the flames . . . set fire to the whole, which burnt like tinder. 'It is feared that there will be many deaths due to this great catastrophe. Fire is raging at the time we go to press.' On the same page of the Hong Kong Telegraph, the racing column was allowed to run as written. 'The rise in temperature,' the columnist wrote with no premonition, 'had led some to predict an early fall of rain, but it seems that the 1918 meeting is going to be a fine one . . . 'The Derby 1918 will go down as one of the most sensational races ever ridden in Hong Kong . . . for a rank outsider as Tytam Chief to win made the victory absolutely sensational and Sir Ellis Kadoorie, as he lead [sic] in his pony was given a demonstration that was really remarkable.' When the bodies were counted the following day, there were about 600, with many more hospitalised with terrible injuries. August 10, 1918: Lady May launched the War Drummer, built by the Hong Kong and Whampoa Dock Company. It was the first standard ship built in Hong Kong. March 9, 1920: 'Talk about the weather,' announced Hong Kong Telegraph columnist 'Ajax' briefly. 'I have never in all my days known anything like it. You are frozen up one minute and all of a glow the next . . . still the rains have kept away,' he ended positively. That was after day one of the most prolonged period of smog that Hong Kong had ever experienced - or has experienced since. By the end of the 95-hour gloom everyone was talking about the weather. Advertisers paid for stories with headlines like 'The little one's cold and how to treat it' (containing remedies like the following: 'Warm baths and Baby's Own Tablets to move the bowels: grease the nose inside and out with Vaseline'). On March 11 the SS Commandant Magee was wrecked on the rocks near the Island of the Moon with 'foggy weather apparently the cause'. The tug Taikoo was sent to the rescue. On March 12, the last day of soggy darkness, another columnist noted how 'it has been noticeable this week that the pavements under verandahs have been wetter than the streets of exposed footways'. September 16, 1922: On leave in England, Governor Sir Reginald Stubbs wrote to the Colonial Office: 'This is the beginning of the end. I told you the other day that I believed we should hold Hong Kong for another 50 years. I put it now at 20 at the most.' His concern was based on the difficulties being faced in renewing the Anglo-Japanese treaty, drawn up before World War I when a strong Japanese presence in the Pacific was seen as desirable to the British. Stubbs' fears were justified: Hong Kong was to fall to the Japanese within two decades. In the same prescient letter, he forecast 'a boycott, more or less open' - which happened just three years later.